One of the recurring conversations we have off mic over the past couple of years is around how the internet radicalises people, how people become indoctrinated by their own particular echo chambers – from men’s rights red pill stuff to conspiracy – and how it’s so hard to engage with people on this because it’s like their minds are made up, they’re totally closed off. The growth in visibility of the far-right in Ireland, some of it rooted in outright conspiracy, and the spread of QAnon-related conspiracy and conspirituality online has brought this to the fore again. People have even started listing it as a hobby on Tinder.
So we wanted to talk to someone who can tell us what to do if someone we know starts falling down the rabbit hole. We’re talking to Rick Alan Ross, who is a specialist in cults, and deprogramming. He has handled hundreds of deprogramming cases around the world, he was consulted by the FBI during the infamous Waco siege in 1987, he is the author of Cults: Inside And Out, and is the director of the Cult Education Institute.